More people than ever before are beginning to find their inner chef and are looking to explore their culinary talents. Thanks to the pandemic of 2020, when families were forced to start cooking most of their meals at home, many amateur cooks have found their inspiration.
The only problem is that most kitchens aren’t set up to be as efficient as they need to be. Convenience and aesthetics often win out over function in the normal kitchen. If you are looking to set up a more professional cooking space to stretch your cooking talents, you can take a few tips from the professionals.
Beyond having the newest shiny appliances and handy wall ovens, there are certain ways that you can set up your kitchen to make your cooking chores easier. Let’s take a closer look at a few ways that you can create the perfect kitchen for an amateur chef.
Give Yourself Room
In most families, the kitchen becomes the congregation area where people like to gather as the cooking is happening. If you design your kitchen to accommodate more than one cook, you are giving yourself more room and freedom to create delicious meals without being crowded.
A great way to create a work and social space in your kitchen is to include a two-level island. The higher side is perfect for your guests and family to sit, munch on some appetizers, and have a glass of wine. The lower side is the perfect place for you to continue your work without sacrificing any space.
When you are cooking, timing is everything. You don’t want to waste steps in your kitchen wandering across the room to get from the fridge to your prep area or the stove. Most kitchen professionals prefer to set up a kitchen work triangle that includes the fridge, prep, and cooking. Professional cooks want to have their main areas close at hand so that they have the convenience of working in a smaller area.
You want to surround yourself with all of your commonly used dishware and utensils. A hanging pot holder above your workspace and a container filled with your spatulas and spoons should be centralized in your main workspace.
If you want to get the most out of your cooking efforts, you need to be using quality tools and appliances. If you want to boost the level of your cooking skills, you should be using the same equipment that the pros rely on to get it right every time. Don’t skimp on your main appliances, including your wall oven, fridge, and cooktop. This doesn’t mean that you need to spend a fortune on commercial-grade appliances, but keep quality in mind when you are shopping for your kitchen.
When outfitting your kitchen with appliances, function is more important than design. While county stoves and cupboard fridges may fit into your decor, they have no place in a professional-level kitchen. You want your appliances to be durable, reliable, and high quality.
An elegant and functional kitchen will have a variety of open and closed storage spaces. While you may want an open cabinet to display your decorative dishes, you definitely want a closed space where you can store your pots, pans, and small appliances. Don’t clutter your countertops with kitchen appliances, and give up your prepping space.
If you plan to spend a lot of time creating new culinary treats in your kitchen, you want to ensure that your countertops are up to the job. You want countertops that will stand up to a lot of abuse and are capable of dealing with high levels of heat. Soapstone countertops can withstand up to 1200 degrees of direct heat without burning or cracking. Granite countertops may be the fashion, but they can scratch and don’t react well to high heat. Consider a compressed quartz countertop that is available in many colors and textures and is resistant to high heat.
Your sink will see a lot of action in your chef’s kitchen and should be located centrally. It’s a good idea to have some prepping counter space on either side of your sink. There are several options when it comes to choosing the sink that is right for your kitchen design. You can go with a double sink or a farmhouse sink, but what is most important is that your sink is deep enough to accommodate your activity and a load of dishes.
When you are working in the kitchen, you want to have enough lighting to see how your creations are coming along. While it’s always nice to fill your kitchen with natural lighting, you may need to supplement your area with more options. If you primarily work at an island, you will want to hang a series of pendant lighting so that where you are working is properly lit. Proper lighting will also ensure that you are working safely. Another great add-on in your kitchen is under-cabinet lighting. Strips of LED lights mounted out of sight under the lip of your cabinets can give your workspace the visibility that you need and a warm ambiance.
Essential Kitchen Appliances
If you love southern cooking, you are probably going to be preparing various fried foods in your kitchen. Having the right tools can increase your safety and ensure that your dishes are properly cooked for the amateur chef. You have the choice between a deep fryer and an air fryer.
- A deep fryer needs to be able to hold enough oil to completely submerge your food. It should contain a metal mesh basket to lower and raise your food when it is cooking. Deep fryers are used for cooking various foods from french fried potatoes, chicken, and fish.
- Most air fryers only need a small amount of oil to cook your food. The machine uses circulating hot air to cook food. While you won’t get the same greasier taste with an air fryer that you do with a deep fryer, your meals will require less oil and are a healthier option.
Beyond your range oven, most functional kitchens rely on the convenience of smaller appliances to help prepare meals. If you have more than one dish that needs to be baked, roasted, or broiled, you will need to choose one of these oven options.
- For quick cooking, you can’t beat using a microwave oven. These appliances use electromagnetic radiation for cooking food quickly. Foods cooked in the microwave are best if they just need to be warmed since they generally don’t brown.
- Every kitchen needs to have a toaster oven. This smaller and more convenient box oven that can fit easily on your countertop can cook virtually everything that a wall oven can cook. They generally come with a wire rack and baking pan and several settings, including bake and broil.
No modern kitchen is complete without a dishwasher. When you spend endless hours in the kitchen creating delicious meals or baking for the holidays, the last thing that you want to do is hand-wash the dishes. An Energy Star dishwasher can save you both time and energy in the kitchen. Simply load your dirty dishes in the racks and set them to clean, and you will have all your dishes ready to use in no time.
When you spend time cooking in the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for things to heat up. To keep the odors and ambient heat to a minimum, you should install a range hood over your cooktop. Your range hood includes an exhaust fan that sucks hot air and strong smells up and out of the kitchen, keeping it more comfortable.
For busy families, a slow cooker is a life-saver. These unique cooking appliances are great for easy meals for the whole family. All you have to do is add all of your ingredients into one pot, turn it on and wait. You can prepare your meals in the morning, turn your slow cooker on low, and your meal will be ready to eat when you get home from work or school.
No chef can create glorious culinary creations without a food processor. Why waste precious prep time chopping and dicing when you can throw your ingredients into a food processor and be done in just minutes? You can use your food processor to create the newest dips, cream sauces, fillings, and dough.
If you love how great your food processor chops up your recipe ingredients. Similar in design, your blender will be used for most liquid creations and can create a smooth texture that you can’t always get with a food processor. Create signature cocktails, morning smoothies, and sauces that will leave your mouth watering.
If you love to bake, you can’t run a gourmet kitchen without a quality stand mixer. Whether you want to create a cake mix for your next birthday creation or a heavy dough for your latest bread recipe, you will love the convenience of a stand mixer. With more power than a hand mixer and less work than manual mixing, your stand mixer will make it a dream to bake in your kitchen.
If you have discovered a love for cooking and want a kitchen environment that makes your job easier, follow these tips to create the perfect kitchen for amateur chefs.